Sunday, January 30, 2011

Technique book pages - emboss resist

Emboss resist!! Yet more fun making backgrounds!! I investigated what could be done using embossing ink and powder to provide a resist when creating backgrounds. The one on the left was created on glossy paper using clear embossing ink (Versamark) and clear embossing powder with several layers of acrylic paint colour washes over it. It took a little elbow grease to remove the acrylic paint from the embossed area though I found it easier if the paint had not dried for too long. A slightly damp tissue on the heavily embossed areas cleaned them up nicely.

Here are all the pages I created for the swap using clear embossing ink and clear powder! Top row - a rubber stamped image with acrylic paint colour washes, an inked stencil stamped on white tissue paper with an acrylic paint wash, a rubber stamped image with an acrylic colour wash. Row two - rubber stamped image on yellow cardstock covered with brown dye ink, rubber stamped image with acrylic paint colour wash, rubber stamped image on white cardstock with watercolour washes. Row three - decorative paper inked through a stencil and an acrylic colour wash, rubber stamped image on a book page with watercolour washes, rubber stamped image with acrylic colour washes.
I found that when using watercolour it was best to let the colour dry well before removing the colour accumulated on the embossing and using a damp cloth reactivated the colour and often removed much of it, so was not helpful. I have quite a few rejects that did not give me look I was going for but were interesting in their own right. Glossy calendar pages were very challenging and in the end I just gave up because even acrylic paint wiped off that glossy surface - who knew!!
So after a week of doing research and playing with background techniques I have my pages complete and ready to be mailed out!!!!!!!

I hope you will consider trying a few of them and making a few cards for your stash!!


Technique book pages - dryer sheets

My next foray into backgrounds was to delve into the possibilities of using dryer sheets!! After some internet research I would caution that some believe that the chemicals contained in dryer sheets are dangerous and should be avoided.
I worked with used dryer sheets - ones that had been used in the dryer many times but would consider washing them before using them the next time around. The techniques really work best with depleted sheets so if you choose not to use the dryer sheets you should launder them before you proceed. You may be able to obtain what you need by asking friends and family to save them
for you or to post to a Freecycle group and ask for what you need.
The basic idea is just to apply colour to the sheets to make them interesting. I used acrylic craft paint, glitter paint and acrylic ink on my pages. I attached the backgrounds to cardstock by capturing them between two layers using double sided tape. I attached the butterfly sequin using a glue dot which secured the butterfly and background to the cardstock.
For colour, you can also consider tea, coffee, dyes, liquid acrylic, textile paints, fabric dyes, reinkers, alcohol inks, spritz and mists - even Koolaid (no sugar)!! I lay the dryer sheets onto plain bond and used a brush to apply the paint and in some cases used several different colours on the same sheet. Because the dryer sheets are so thin the colour medium will soak through creating yet more background paper as you decorate the dryer sheets. Lay them out on a protected surface to dry. You can also consider soaking the sheets - plain or tied - in containers of colour medium, removing them later and laying them out to dry. Either way it is recommended that you iron the backgrounds to heat set the colour. To protect your iron it is best to press them between two sheets of bond paper. Once ironed they are ready to be used in your art!
Some people have stamped or stenciled them to add yet more dimension. Many textile artists are using them to layer into their mixed media art, quilters use them for several different techniques and they can be used to create embellishments in the same way that fabric or ribbon would be used.
There are two techniques that I read about while doing online research that I would like to try. One recommended layering the dryer sheet on a plastic or resistant surface (silicone) and painting it with white glue and sprinkling on glitter. This created a beautifully transparent material which was used to create dove and snowflake ornaments. I expect you could colour your glue with ink and get a coloured version. This may have the feel of fabric.
The other is to used dryer sheets to create "fabric paper". Lay the dryer sheet on a resistant surface and brush on thinned glue (1 part water to 2 parts glue). Then start layering on thin papers with thinned glue between each layer. Add cut out elements, paper napkins or even items such as lace and ribbon for colour and texture. Finish the piece with a layer of neutral tissue paper and a final layer of glue. I have been wanting to try this for a while though was sort out of the scope of this project so I have put it off yet again.
There is also a technique called "Dryer sheet technique" where you coat a colourful image with adhesive, layer on a dryer sheet and add glitter! Great for Christmas cards!! You can check it out here on Splitcoast Stampers.

Technique book pages - metal embossing

So here is what I created while playing at embossing metal!! I have done this several times before and found it such a cool way to add interest and personality to a project!!
This one features metal tape over cardstock and embossing in an embossing folder to which transparent acrylic paint has been added. The heart is die cut and hand tooled with a design and letters which have to be inscribed on the back - backwards - to be right reading on the front. It is attached with 3D foam tape.

These are my pages featuring embossed metal. Top row - metal tape over cardstock and embossed with an embossing folder, four different metals (yogurt, applesauce and nut can seals) embossed using texture plates using silicone mat in a die cutting machine, metal tape over cardstock and embossed with an embossing folder with a hand tooled foil pie plate heart diecut. Row two - flower aluminum can die cuts embossed in embossing folder and layered, flower aluminum can die cuts embossed in embossing folder, aluminum foil pie plate hand tooled through a stencil. Row three - aluminum can die cut flower embossed with embossing folder and a hand tooled applesauce foil seal, hand cut aluminum can seal hand tooled, yogurt container seal hand tooled with a circular design. The colour was added to all using transparent acrylic paint.
You can buy metal for tooling but I find there quite a few options for reusing foil that is readily available such as seals from yogurt, applesauce, cans of nuts and tea. Certainly, foil bakeware can be purchased locally and provides a heavier metal for working with. Aluminum drink cans are yet a little heavier and also readily available though I would caution being careful of sharp edges when cutting cans apart. The metal foil tape can be purchased at hardware stores and depending on the weight may need to be supported by cardstock. Be on the look out for metal items that can be embossed such as copper plant tags, etc.
I have used a pencil for tooling my designs. Consider a pen, knitting needle, crochet hook, blunted skewer, paper or wood stump. Almost any object with a blunt rounded end will do the job. Of course, embossing folders, texture plates and crimpers do the job in a heart beat. Consider using a rubber mallet to emboss the metal in the embossing folders.
You will need a soft surface for embossing - I use just a small stack of newspapers. You want something with just a little give so you don't pierce your metal. A foam placemat, mouse pad or stiff fun foam would also work.
I used a homemade acrylic paint for adding colour. You could consider any of the transparent window paints recommended for suncatchers. Alcohol inks, glass paint, Sharpie markers, acrylic inks, fluid acrylics and thinned acrylic paints would also do the job.
If you would prefer not to tool your own design onto the metal consider using printed clipart, a stamped image or a stencil. Stained glass designs work well to start because of their bold style.
To get started, place your metal right side down on your soft surface and use your tool to create a design. Turn it over to see how it is coming along. There is no such thing as an eraser per se but I have used a wooden spoon or wood handle from a spatula for removing all the embossing and started over. You will see that there is an embossed and debossed side to each piece. You can choose the one that you like best. You can create backgrounds, embellishments and focal elements using metal!!
There are coloured foils which can be embossed and then sanded for a great look. Check out this video for a really cool project!!
So save a few pieces of metal from your daily life and see what you can create using what you have on hand - a newspaper and pencil at the very least - a put a little more of yourself in your next project!!


Technique book pages - alcohol inks

For these pages I was playing with alcohol inks!! Again, after some on line research had a few new ideas to add to my repertoire of techniques.
Alcohol inks are suitable for non porous surfaces which makes them good on glossy, metallic, pearlized or foiled paper or cardstock, vellum, acetate, foil, plastic, glass, metal and for such 3D items such as dominoes, fragments, stickers, metal embellishments, etc. Just a note though, photo paper is glossy but is designed to absorb inkjet ink and therefore is not suitable for this technique.

You can see all my technique pages in this photo. Top row - glossy paper, dye reinkers with alcohol and StazOn ink, acetate, alcohol inks and StazOn ink, glossy cardstock, dye reinkers with alcohol and Palette ink (swipe technique), Row two - glossy cardstock, alcohol inks and Palette ink, glossy cardstock, dye reinkers with alcohol and StazOn ink (swirl technique), glossy cardstock, alcohol inks and Memories ink. Row three - foil tape on cardstock, alcohol inks and StazOn ink, vellum, alcohol inks and StazOn ink, acetate, alcohol inks and Brilliance ink.
You can buy the metallic fixatives to go with the alcohol inks though I have successfully used Krylon metallic pens for creating the "polished stone" look which features metallic veining.
I have found that dye reinkers and alcohol work really well on paper to create alcohol ink backgrounds. Unfortunately, they will not work on other surfaces such as acetate or metal.
Blending solution is colourless and is used to dilute and spread alcohol inks. I have personally used rubbing alcohol (70% or more) for 98% of my alcohol ink work with no problems and I read on line in several places that others are doing the same thing. A very cost effective option. In some cases, 90% rubbing alcohol was used as well.
As a substitute for the applicator I have been using a strip of felt attached to a small wood block (3" x 1" x .75) with two thumb tacks. I have a handy DH so a small block of wood was easy to find but you might consider using a wood block from a rubber stamp or one from a Jenga game. You can also adhere velcro hooks to the block instead of using tacks and that will keep your felt in place.
I used Staz On, Memories and Brilliance ink on my pages. I also used Ancient Page ink on one of the pages that did not make the cut for other reasons. Several online also suggested Archival and Versafine for stamping over alcohol inks. You can certainly use pigment ink and embossing powder for a different look. Some dye inks may also be suitable for use on paper but not on other surfaces.
You can use alcohol inks to colour embellishments like brads, rhinestones, metal or plastic tags or letters, dew drops, hot glue, etc.
For a very creative option consider using PVA glue to seal regular cardstock - you can incorporate bits for texture. Once completely dry, apply a quick coat of alcohol inks for very dramatic backgrounds.
I found some places on line where alcohol inks were combined with spray starch or acrylic floor polish (Future - Klear (UK)) to create interesting backgrounds.
Sharpie markers are alcohol based markers so you can scribble them on acetate and use alcohol on a Qtip to move them around and create some unique looking backgrounds and/or embellishments.
Lots of fun playing with alcohol inks!!
I would certainly recommend at the very least trying dye reinkers (StampinUP) and alcohol on glossy cardstock!!


Technique book pages - moldable foam

I have joined a Technique Book Swap on AFTCM. I signed up for five techniques and this is my first one - moldable foam backgrounds. I did some research on line to see what others were doing and tried the few I had supplies for. I have some Penscore which I used for some of these backgrounds. There is also a product called Magic Stamp which is very similar and works the same way. This foam can be heated and impressed with any texture so the sky is the limit for what is possible.

This next photo shows all the pages I made for my swap using moldable foam!! Top row - PS, cedar sprig imprint and multicoloured dye ink, moldable foam packaging (packaged with a unmounted stamp to be used as a stamping surface), embossing folder imprint and blue dye ink, PS, heart buttons imprint and red dye ink. Row two - fun foam heart, part of a rubber stamp imprint and blue dye ink*, PS, cedar sprig imprint and brown dye ink, moldable foam packaging, part of a floral rubber stamp and blue dye ink. Row three - PS, lace imprint and pink dye ink, moldable foam packaging,
part of a floral rubber stamp and blue dye ink, PS, pressed leaf imprint and green dye ink.
You can see here the little fun foam heart I used to create the blue background* in the previous picture!! It turned out very cool and made a very interesting background. Who knew that fun foam could be used so creatively!!
To create the stamp, heat moldable foam about 10 seconds with a heat gun until it gets soft and smooth and immediately press it into your texture! Hold for 30 seconds or so and you have a new stamp!! The fun foam works pretty much the same way - the thicker fun foam is better for creating stamps this way. Just use a bit of double sided tape to hold the fun foam to a solid surface - piece of wood or thick plastic works well - which you can use as a handle for impressing it onto your texture. Now just apply your ink and stamp away!! They can be cleaned and reused many times if you choose to keep the design you have created. To impress a new design - simply heat again and apply to new texture!! A new stamp!! I have kept a few of the ones I have created in the past because I really like the look of the stamp and how well it makes backgrounds. You can also use foam trays in the same manner but there are warnings on the internet about health risks to heating the foam. It solidifies much more quickly so you really have to be ready when using this type of foam.
If you don't have a heat gun you can use another source but you will have to experiment to see what works and how long it takes to soften the foam. I do not recommend any sort of open flame!!! Consider using a light bulb or electric stove element.
Be on the look out for moldable foam that is disguised as garden kneelers, visors, etc. Anything that has feels like fun foam (spongy) will probably work. The thicker fun foam works better - 1/8" or more.
There is a lot of die cut fun foam available so buy the shapes you want. Otherwise, buy sheets and cut with a die cut machine, scissors or an exacto knife. You can create your own shadow stamps for any of your regular stamps by just stamping the image on the fun foam and cutting out the shape. If you have a Cricut consider using a deep cutting blade to cut out shapes!!
You can use a wide variety of colour mediums with these stamps - ink pads, acrylic paint, textile paints, etc. You can also stamp on wide variety of substrates - paper, cardstock, fabric, wood, etc.
As for textures - the sky is the limit!! Consider rice, pasta, rubber bands, pressed botanicals, rubber stamps, shells, buttons, lace, fabric, placemats, plastic canvas, beads, combs, texture plates, embossing folders, etc. Consider that the image will be reversed so in some cases writing or numbers is not your best option.
Foam trays and fun foam can not only be impressed with an image but you can also add details by using a pencil or pen and scribing the surface. Consider though that this may damage the surface enough that it cannot be heated and reused but a great way to add details to a basic shape.
Foam stamps need to be neatly stored so their surfaces are protected from contact with hard edges which over time will impress their surface and possibly ruin their impression. Thin fun foam ones can be stored in CD cases.
So buy yourself a few sheets of fun foam (craft foam), start playing and make yourself a few stamps!! Enjoy!!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Hands of Time ATCs

I created these three ATCs for a Hands of Time swap on AFTCM!! I used photos I downloaded from The Morgue File - a great resource of photos for free - and added some elements to make them work. The left hand one - I used a dandelion photo, added a clock face and a quote - You only have n o w. Choose wisely. I added some 3D hands with a brad to the middle and added the n and the w with a white gel pen to spell the word n o w. The middle one - I used a photo of a watch, added a quote to the top and bottom and a clock sticky border to the side of it. The right one - I used a photo of a clock mechanism and added a quote with white gel marker.
One swap down - several more to go!!


Anniversary cards

Created these as anniversary cards but they certainly would do very nicely for Valentine's!! They feature two white die cut hearts (white serendipity technique) with a red fiber heart sandwiched in between, all tied with a silver cord. I added ribbon and red lace to the embossed layer, tucking the ends in behind before I glued them to the red card front. I added three heart rhinestones which was just the right touch of bling!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Paper flower card

Made this card for an exchange with my stamping buddies!! I was late getting started so I used items that were close at hand - a paper bag flower I had received in an exchange on AFTCM, background paper that had already been clear embossed, at greeting from my stash of class leftovers and a ribbon just sitting from a past project!! I washed the embossed background paper and the greeting with walnut ink and let them dry while I found some red cardstock. It can together fairly quickly after that - cut background paper to size, glue to card front, add ribbon and glue to inside of card, mount flower with double sided tape and the greeting with 3D foam tape!! Done!!

Cardmaking - Black Magic

Love the look of this technique - Black Magic!! Again, discovered a tutorial at Splitcoast Stampers for this technique! It is so easy!! Stamp a solid style stamp on black cardstock using white pigment ink, heat set and colour with coloured pencils or chalk!! I am amazed at how great this image looks - the colours pop a little!! I outlined the black cardstock with white gel pen, layered it onto an embossed layer and then onto white cardstock!!

This one is a "quick and easy"!!! Enjoy!!


Cardmaking - U cards

Have been wanting to make large U cards for a while! I love the graphic look of the large letter U and in this case I let each person customize their card by adding whatever colour they wanted to their black and white card elements!!
For the birthday one on the left - I created a happy birthday element by pairing two fonts, printed a large U which I coloured using colour pencils, a #2 to complete the greeting and continue with the graphic nature of the card and a birthday cake (downloaded from here) embellishment which is also printed and coloured with colour pencils. For the Valentine's card on the right, I used an initial font (Cheltshire Initials) to create the "LOVE" decorative element and added a printed heart embellishment - all coloured with watercolours. The backgrounds are printed as well using a stippling digital stamp that I downloaded off of my sister's blog.
So a card created using digital elements that has very much a handmade look!! Valentine's is the next "big thing" and I am ready with a card for my DH!!


Cardmaking - Pop up frame card

This card features a pop up frame working well with my theme of adding dimension!! I had seen a card with this frame on a card at Splitcoast and so set about replicating it and later discovered that they had a tutorial for creating it. It does require a ScorePal which I do have so in the end I would have had to work it anyway!! I started with a four square of heavyweight double sided decorative scrapbook paper. If you are making more than one of these the size works well into a sheet of 12x12 scrapbook paper. By working with a scrap piece of bond I discovered that I needed a square just a bit bigger than 2.75" to score the lines for the folds in the right place. So I cut cereal cardboard to the right size and placed it
diagonally on my square. Originally I was marking the two opposite sides of the square so I could ensure that my square was correctly positioned but a few in I realized that I could use the grid on my cutting mat to line up the centers of the sides with the points of my diagonally placed square - too easy!! So the process of scoring them went much more quickly after that. Once I had the square scored I folded all four corners into the middle and adjusted the fold a little to make sure that my corners were nice and tight. Then, all you have to do is fold the points back to the middle of the side to get your cute little pop up frame. I added a colour printed greeting on a neutral layer and added that to a colourful card front.
Thrifty Tip: I also created the cool little dimensional embellishments which I placed inside the frame. These are fun foam shapes all dressed up!! I used a flower die to cut the fun foam, added some pigment ink to coordinate with my paper, poured on some clear embossing powder and heated it with my heat gun. The fun foam with curl and shrink when you heat it. To create the dimension I used a flourish rubber stamp coated with pigment ink to impress the fun foam while it was still hot. Makes very cool little embellishments that are very economical to create!!
Give it a try!!


Cardmaking - Tri Shutter Card

I challenged myself to create cards with dimension for my January cardmaking session so I started with a Tri Shutter card!! I have seen many of these cards in blogland and they are always impressive so I decided to give them a try. I found a tutorial over at Splitcoast Stampers. I adjusted the dimensions to make it easier to create in class by making the top and bottom 1.25" (the width of my metal ruler) and then chose decorative paper that had no direction so I could cut all of my pieces from a 4" x 12" piece of scrapbook paper giving me three from one sheet of 12x12. Worked out really well!! Many of the ones I have seen have very little room to put a message so I used the middle section of mine for my message space and left it blank. I stamped a bird for the front and added flourishes to the back one where a greeting can be added. I stamped and coloured three small flowers to add as embellishments and added a ribbon on the front.
So if you have been looking at these thinking they are too complicated, I encourage you to give them a try. It does require measuring and cutting accurately but the putting together goes fairly quickly. There are many other ways of decorating these cards so Google it and/or check out the gallery at Splitcoast Stamper for some inspiration!!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Challenge - Easel Card

On one of my groups we have a challenge - make an easel card using cream & aqua and include a doily!! This is the card I created!!
I started with a 4.25" x 11" piece of cream cardstock, cut off 4.25" for my card front and scored the remaining piece at 4" and 6.25" which left a 1/2". I decorated the front with a square of aqua/pearl decorative paper and added a round paper doily both embellished with a bit of aqua ink. The middle section is adorned with a lacy accent which I created by layering two pieces of lace onto double sided tape and adding a light aqua quarter inch ribbon overlapping them in the center. The center features a pearly embossed heart layered onto a pearl scalloped circle with an aqua scallop circle (Nestibilities) below the lacy accent. To create the embossed heart I used a white fun foam heart shape, added some aqua pigment ink, sprinkled on some pearl embossing powder, heated it with my heat gun and finally stamped it with a swirly stamp that had been inked with white pigment ink while it was hot. The corner embellishments were created by punching pearl cardstock with a lace decorative corner punch and trimming away the extra leaving a slimmer edge. They were the perfect accents for the corners. I folded the remaining piece on the score lines, applied double sided tape on the half inch flap and laid my card front onto it lining up the bottom corners of the front to the bottom corners of the back. I decorated the bottom 1 1/4" of the back using a strip of the aqua/pearl decorative paper, another piece of lacy accent to which I added a small heart die cut from the pearl cardstock using 3D foam tape.
The card has wonderful texture and would make a wonderful Valentine's card for someone special!!


Thursday, January 06, 2011


Mini books for my Book Club buddies!! We are meeting to make vision boards for the New year and I thought it would be good to have a few affirmations to go with them. So I made these books for each of us to record them and any goals or resolutions we are making for 2011.
Started with a 4.25" x 11" piece of heavy weight cardstock, scored at it 5.5" and 5 5/8" from the right hand side and folded the back on the fold lines. Then I cut it at 4.75" from the left hand side. I decorated the cut off - cover - using bleach and some of my embossing folders!! I added a little epoxy sticker with our initials to finish them off. I lined up the decorated cover with the little portion of the back that folds to the front - it left about an 1/8" gap - and reattached it using black fabric tape. Cut some 4" x 5 3/8" pages for the inside (25 sheets of bond pretty well fills the 1/8" spine) and used my Cropadile to make two holes - one 3/4" from the top and one 3/4" from the bottom about 1/8" from the spine. I used elastics (hair ones) to bind the book along with a wooden stir stick which was cut to the right length and shaped with sand paper to be nicely rounded like the other end. To bind simply put a loop of the elastic through the top hole (back to front) and insert the wood piece and then make another loop with the elastic and put it through the bottom hole (back to front) and push the wood piece down far enough to insert in into the loop. Center the wood piece on both loops. Because my binding was not as tight as I wanted it to be I pulled one of the long sections from the back tight and then brought it to the front and placed it in the trough of the fabric tape hinge. Nicely tightens the binding and also highlights the cover!!

Had a wonderful Christmas with my family out west and counted my blessings that we still have my parents with us and that so many made it to my sister's house on Boxing Day!! Loved playing in the snow with my grand daughter too!!
A new year begins and I am letting go of some things and looking forward to some new ones in many areas of my life!!